Planken, LI


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Replacing a Load Bearing Wall with a Glulam Column and Beam System

Replacing a Load Bearing Wall with a Glulam Column and Beam System

We bought a 1947 vintage ranch in upstate NY for our sons to live in while in university. In addition to the need for upgrading (especially electrical) and catching up on deferred maintenance, the...

Nutcracking Setup

Nutcracking Setup

After enough years of ruining the nut meats by cracking with a hammer or with a lobster pliers, I ordered a Kenkel hardshell cracker because it has a stroke brake mechanism. After mounting it on a...

Recent comments

Re: Do I suffer from sleep apnea?

Great post! The next time I have trouble with a sleepy worker, I'm going to give him/her a copy of this post.

Re: Designing for Renters: How to create a neutral and Appealing space

Using colors other than white and cream in a rental unit is a topic my wife and I have discussed a lot over the last couple years as a project that we might undertake in a rental house that we own. Rental housing in our area of central Europe is grossly overbuilt, rental rates are falling and and we are looking for ways to compete.

I’d love to see photos of the rooms that you’ve painted mint green and duck egg blue and hear more about the response of prospective tenants. In our area, painted walls in rental units are probably 99.5% white. Why? Other than that is what people here have always done, a more rational justification is that the tenant’s furnishings absolutely will not clash with white.

We are pretty sure that when the current tenant moves out, we will paint the two currently white bathrooms in this unit – one lime green and the other brick red (Martha Stewart). Thinking about the color clash problem and tenants’ unpredictable tastes, we’re still pretty nervous about painting the other rooms – especially the living room.

We do have some experience with colors from a house in upstate NY that we owned until a year ago. After purchase, we repainted the entire interior - the walls of the living room and three of the bedrooms in Benjamin Moore Decatur Buff and the kitchen and dining room in BM Amber Waves. When it came time to move and find a tenant, these colors certainly did not turn anyone off – actually just the opposite - we even had one offer over the asking rate. Still, we’re cautious about doing this in an area where inside wall color doesn’t have much tradition.

Re: How to increase female fairness

The next time I hire a contractor, I'm going to insist that all employees are fair skinned females.

Re: OEM rims for cars

Huh? What do OEM rims have to do with fine homebuilding?

Re: Real Estate Market Trends in Bengaluru

What in the world a real estate development in India has to do with fine homebuilding is a mystery to me and probably to most readers as well. Has the contributor considered a real estate or international investing website?

Re: Small Houses are a Big Deal

Some 30 years ago, when our kids were toddlers, my wife and I built our 2100 SF home. Today we’re in our early 70’s, our kids live between 80 and 7,000 miles away and we’re glad we have room for them and for our grandchildren to come for extended visits. Between visits when we start wishing we had less house to take care of, we just have to remind ourselves of the advantages of having the room.

All the same, if one of our kids found a job close by and wanted to take over our house, we’ve made tentative plans to build a small house on our property. That’s one of the reasons that I always read these small house articles and why I’ve bought about every one of Sarah Susanka’s books.

I completely agree that there is a need to focus on good design and I'd add to that the need for quality - in construction and in materials and components.

If the consumer were brought into the design process, I wonder how many would insist on 7 gables and 3 different design styles on the same house.

Re: The Basics of Replacement Windows

P.S. I did NOT go with so-called new installation windows because I don't like the look and we would have had to pull siding off.

Re: The Basics of Replacement Windows

We had a contractor install replacement windows in our bathrooms and kitchen in the conventional way, that is by removing the old sashes and balance system and sliding in the replacement window. We were not happy with the result because we lost glass area and the look was quite frankly - ugly.

For the remaining windows on the house, we used a hybrid method. First the outside molding, the sashes, the balance system and the jambs were removed. (The inside casing and stool were left in place.) The replacement windows (from Lowes) were dimensioned to fit fairly snugly to the window rough framing.

The jambs of the new replacement windows went in tight against the inside casing and stool. After foaming, we put the outside molding back on. The result was no loss of glass area (some windows actually showed a gain.) and the look is just as good or better than that of the old windows.

P.S. I did go with so-called new installation windows because I don't like the look and we would have had to pull siding off.

Re: Online Reviews Can Hurt Contractors and Homeowners

Once it comes to the point of blasting the contractor or the homeowner on some website, the situation is just plain out of hand. I've made it a point to look ahead and see how to prevent things from going that far.

As a homeowner, I've had my share of experience with good and bad contractors - on both sides of the Atlantic. Before contracting out work, I try to inform myself as much as possible about how the work should be done. Fine Homebuilding's articles and videos have been a big help and of course investigating building code requirements. This helps me to evaluate prospective contractors and in the event of getting a bad one, to know when to fire the contractor before the problem gets really out of hand. Admittedly, being a retired civil engineer with structural experience and an enthusiastic DIYer, I may have an unfair advantage over the average homeowner. All the same, it has been necessary for me to fire contractors - in New York and in Switzerland.

One thing that makes the situation in Europe slightly better is widespread and uniform apprenticeship training. In the U.S. the on-the-job training that most young workers get depends largely on the competence of the contractor doing the training and this is just not uniformly good.

A couple tips for homeowners: Don't employ the contractor who talks the best. Insist on visiting him/her on one or more jobsites and in his/her shop. If you have to employ a contractor whom you do not know, employ him/her to do some work of limited scope. If you are satisfied with that, then maybe give him/her the whole addition to build.